When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”
Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” ~ Matthew 9:12-13 NLT
Mercy, not sacrifice
The Pharisees were more concerned about their own appearance of holiness than with helping people; with criticism more than encouragement. Jesus rebuked them, saying that kind hearts and helpful deeds are more pleasing to God than outward ceremony. Sacrifice is right, but mercy is first in importance.
Jesus associated with sinners and "scum" because they knew they needed Him. Those who are sure they are righteous can't be saved because the first step in following Jesus is acknowledging our need.
Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. 1 Timothy 1:15 MSG
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